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Study Finds Gay Marriage Could Bring Arizona $62 Million

To many, the "sincerely held religious belief" rhetoric that's made the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby so controversial may have sounded familiar. In March, Arizona legislature was abuzz with the same phrasing.

ArizonaWhile the legislature from the state of Arizona may object to gay rights for moral reasons, would they object as much if they knew how much it would add to the state's economy?

A new report from The Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law, has released a new study that predicts the economic impact of legalizing same-sex marriage in Arizona. The report estimated same-sex couples would generate a total of $47.5 million in direct wedding spending over the first three years of legalized marriage, and that marriage would bring $5.1 million in sales-tax revenue alone. An especially enticing fact for unemployed AZ citizens: new spending on wedding ceremonies could lead to nearly 520 new jobs in the state.

Speaking with AZcentral, Rocco Menaguale, an artist and designer from Phoenix, pointed out that legalizing gay marriage could lead specifically to new jobs in the state's burgeoning creative industries. Said Menaguale:

The architecture, interior-design and even construction industries are just starting to bounce back from the recession... Supporting marriage equality would start to attract more people to Arizona who want to live here, buy stuff here and come in for travel. It really would effect the whole creative community.

Head to AZcentral for a more in-depth breakdown of the statistics, including a state-by-state comparison of how gay marriage impacts the economy.


Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Says She Would Consider Bill Protecting Gays from Discrimination

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Governor Jan Brewer, who four months ago was at the center of a contentious debate in her state surrounding a bill (SB1062) that would have allowed religion-based discrimination against gays (she vetoed it), told Capitol Media Services on Tuesday that she would consider expanding the state's civil rights laws to cover gay people if a bill were presented to her:

On Tuesday, Brewer said the question of whether Arizona should expand its anti-discrimination laws comes down to looking at the issue from the opposite perspective of SB1062: Is there a real problem with discrimination that drives a need for such a change?

“That’s something we don’t see a lot of anymore, because of people’s changing patterns of discrimination,” she said.

The governor suggested that state lawmakers might want to hold hearings on the issue.

“If it needs to be addressed, it needs to be debated in the Legislature,” Brewer said.

“Testimony needs to be presented,” she continued. “Let the representatives of the people who have been elected by the populace of the state of Arizona determine and get it up to the governor.”

And what would she do with it?

“I don’t know what would be in that bill or how they would write it,” Brewer said. “But I certainly would evaluate it and do what I thought was the right thing to do for the state.”


Eagle Scout Loses Summer Job with Boy Scouts After Being Outed on Facebook: VIDEO

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Eagle Scout Garrett Bryant was fired from his job by the Boy Scouts after being outed on Facebook, NBC News reports:

Under Scouting policy, gay youth are welcome, but gay adults are not. As a 19-year-old college freshman, Bryant knew that his chance to work again at a Boy Scout camp this summer — and hold any other future leadership position — depended on how well he hid his status as a gay man from his friends and colleagues in Scouting.

But with one Facebook post, Bryant was out — out as a gay adult in Scouting and, according to three sources in local Scouting, out of that summer job.

He thought the post was vague enough: In a moment of exuberance last month over meeting his first boyfriend, Bryant changed his Facebook status to “in a relationship,” adding no comment or details. But the status change prompted revealing, congratulatory comments from non-Scouting friends who knew his sexual orientation, such as “Oh, good for you, man, what's his name?’”

Although Bryant deleted the comments it was over for him and camp leaders told him they would not hire him back to Camp Geronimo, outside of Phoenix, because they had seen the posts.

Bryant did everything he could to keep his sexual orientation private, and thought he wouldn't fall under the Scouts' discriminatory policy because of his age, but to no avail.

Bryant spoke with MSNBC's Ari Melber and Eagle Scout and LGBT ally Zach Wahls last night on The Last Word. His story was also covered by the Arizona Republic.

Watch both segments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eagle Scout Loses Summer Job with Boy Scouts After Being Outed on Facebook: VIDEO" »


Democratic Arizona Senator To Gay Colleague: 'Act More Gay'

Senator Cajero BedfordNot all gay men are the obviously-gay Jack McFarland stereotypes, but this little-known fact came as a complete surprise to Arizona Democratic Senator Cajero Bedford when her colleague Senator Steve Gallardo came out of the closet.

She was so surprised by it that in a closed-door caucus meeting amongst the Democratic Senators she told him that he should, "act more gay," unaware that humans in general exhibit a wide variety of behavioral patterns.

She then proceeded to question Gallardo's integrity, even going so far as to call for a vote to oust Gallardo as the Senate's minority whip because him being in the closet was a matter of "honesty." The vote failed at 8-3.

Bedford, who is evidently utterly in the dark about gay rights in her own state, said that she questioned his honesty because,

"Why was he hiding it? It wouldn’t have made any difference."

Of course not. Because being gay doesn't have any detrimental impact on the lives of Arizona citizens.


Three New Lawsuits Seek the Freedom to Marry in Arizona and Indiana

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Rob MacPherson and Steven Stolen, plaintiffs in the ACLU Indiana suit.

Yesterday we reported that the ACLU filed a lawsuit in Florida demanding recognition of gay marriages from out-of-state.

Also filed yesterday were two others, in Arizona and Indiana.

ArizonaflagFreedom To Marry has details, on Arizona:

Lambda Legal filed this federal lawsuit - Majors v. Roche - in Arizona on behalf of seven same-sex couples - and the surviving spouses of two other same-sex couples - seeking the freedom to marry or respect for legal marriage licenses received in other states.

"Every day that same-sex couples in Arizona are denied marriage, the government sends a message that their families are not worthy of equal dignity and respect," Lambda Legal Senior Council Jennifer Pizer explained.

The plaintiffs include married same-sex couples, couples who want to marry in Arizona, and individuals whose same-sex spouses have passed away without Arizona ever respecting their status as a married couple. The lead plaintiffs are Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey (pictured), who are both in their 70s and have been together for more than 55 years.

IndianaAnd Indiana:

Lambda Legal filed this federal lawsuit - Baskin v. Bogan -on behalf of three same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry in Indiana.

The plaintiffs include: Rae Baskin and Esther Fuller, who have been together for 24 years; Bonne Everly and Linda Judkins, together for over 13 years; and Dawn Lynn Carver and Pamela Eanes, together for 17 years. All of the couples are unmarried.

The named plaintiff, Rae Baskin, explained, "We just want what everyone else has in Indiana – a real, honest and legal marriage. We are a family. Esther loves me unconditionally and I can’t imagine life without her.”

And today comes news that the ACLU has filed ANOTHER, separate lawsuit in Indiana:

The American Civil Liberties Union, The ACLU of Indiana, along with attorney Sean Lemieux of the Lemieux Law Office in Indianapolis, have filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of 15 plaintiffs seeking the freedom marry in Indiana.

The suit seeks to stop the state from enforcing the current discriminatory law, to require the state to recognize marriages that have taken place outside of Indiana and to allow same-sex couples to wed in Indiana.

These lawsuits around the country are proliferating so quickly it is becoming increasingly challenging to keep track of them all. But we'll do our best!


The Real Reason Arizona's Anti-Gay Discrimination Bill Was So Bad

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BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed an odious discrimination bill that would have allowed private individuals and companies to deny service to and otherwise discriminate against gay persons, most people breathed a collective sigh of relief. Many Republicans were happy to erase this stain from their brand, though conservatives in several states have other plans. Most Americans were just happy Jim Crow was not coming back.

Not everyone was so pleased. The right wing was, of course, up in arms. But few of us spend much time worrying about what Michelle Bachmann or Rush Limbaugh think. Then there was George Will, a conservative commentator without the Hellfire that rises from much of today's extreme right. Mr. Will coats his comments with his particular brand of amiability and an aw-shucks attitude in a bow tie. But his words were the most malicious.

WillHere's what he said in reaction to the veto:

It's a funny kind of sore winner in the gay rights movement that would say, 'A photographer doesn't want to photograph my wedding -- I've got lots of other photographers I could go to, but I'm going to use the hammer of government to force them to do this.'... It's not neighborly and it's not nice. The gay rights movement is winning. They should be, as I say, not sore winners.

He characterizes us as winners, which is both a half-truth and red meat for his conservative audience. We have not won anything. Sure, we are racking up notable victories, but you can still be fired in 29 states simply for being gay and I cannot marry the man I love in 33 states. Yet arguing that the fight is already over heightens the feverish paranoia of his readers and listeners; that is, he is warning conservatives that the gays already took marriage away from you and now they're coming for something more.

He also characterizes gays as childish, as ungrateful "sore winners" who do not know how to be neighborly, mature, and adult about things. This may sound peevish and petty, but it also fits within a long standing conservative narrative about gay people as unserious, untrustworthy, small, and entirely hedonistic, just like children.

Mr. Will's greatest sin, however, is in his offensive misconstrual of the substantitive fight. To him, we have a choice between this or that photographer -- "I've got lots of other photographers I could go to" -- suggesting that mere choice is the paradigm for equality. This is the grave error libertarians commit, as well. Equality is barely half a loaf if its pinnacle is the ability to choose. True equality is also about equal dignity, about not being treated like a second-class citizens simply because of who you are. Avoiding state sanctioned discrimination because you may have another choice does not change the underlying fact of discrimination.

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "The Real Reason Arizona's Anti-Gay Discrimination Bill Was So Bad" »


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